Stop Nickel-and-Diming Before It's Too Late

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The brewing controversy over extra fees imposed on hotel guests is not going away, nor should it. A startling (perhaps not?) new survey from D.K. Shifflet shows quite convincingly that the worst thing the hotel industry could do is follow the path taken by the airlines and begin to nickel and dime their guests.

In a survey of 500-plus consumers who've stayed in lodging properties the past three months, three of the top five annoyances for hotel guests are items that involve added fees: charging for Internet access, hidden fees at checkout and charging for parking. The other two annoyances in the top five were uncomfortable beds and thin walls between rooms.

The hotel industry has a rare opportunity to shift its strategy before it's too late. Bundling all reasonable fees into the room rate makes the most sense and will be most appreciated by guests. I know room rates and by extension, revenues are a problem for nearly every hotel, but all signs signal a turnaround. Occupancy is improving, and rates are sure to follow. Don't be stupid enough to trade short-term revenues for long-term disgust by your customers.

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